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Retiring politicos have lots of cash to keep

Retiring politicos have lots of cash to keep



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Utah legislators retiring this year are leaving with hundreds of thousands of dollars they can spend any way they want from campaign accounts.

In all, 18 lawmakers are leaving office, some by choice and others by defeat on Election Day.

They include House Speaker Greg Curtis, R-Sandy. The Deseret News reports that Curtis -- defeated by a Democrat on Nov. 4 -- has $380,000 between two political accounts.

Defeated Sen. Carlene Walker, R-Cottonwood Heights, has $32,000; retiring Sen. Darin Peterson, R-Nephi, has nearly $30,000, and retiring Sen. Dan Eastman, R-Bountiful, has about $22,000.

Utah allows campaign cash to be spent any legal way. Lawmakers can keep the money, give it away or save it for a future campaign. One lawmaker, The Deseret News reported, even drew on his account for wages last year, taking more than $6,000.

Eastman told the newspaper that he plans to give half of his $22,000 to charity, much of the rest to other politicians and keep some for himself. He joked that he has no plans to buy a plasma television.

Eastman said there's no need for limits on campaign spending.

The equation, he said, is simple: "You elect honorable people, and they will use it in honorable ways."

Eastman was one of few legislators willing to speak about his leftover money.

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Information from: Deseret News

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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